MarTech Interview with Stefan Lederer, CEO and Co-founder at Bitmovin

The growing popularity of video in business is not only changing the way teams communicate but also influencing the way marketing and sales leaders are redefining their strategies with enhanced video marketing and video prospecting features; Stefan Lederer, CEO and Co-founder at Bitmovin dives into this trend in this chat:

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Tell us a little about yourself Stefan…we’d love to hear about your role, a typical day at work, and especially the idea behind Bitmovin?

I am the CEO and co-founder of Bitmovin Inc, which is a global leader in streaming video infrastructure and development tools for companies using video over the internet. As the CEO of a scaling video technology company, my day-to-day responsibilities vary greatly depending on the needs of the day. At this time I am responsible for the oversight and management of the Sales and Marketing organization, as well as raising our next round of funding. As Bitmovin is constantly growing, in terms of headcount and business alike, I’m helping build our culture and set our company goals towards sustained annual growth and innovating within the Video Technology industry.

In regard to the idea behind Bitmovin, the company was founded out of university research when my co-founders and I identified a change in the way video is consumed, from linear broadcast and cable just 10 years ago to online streaming today and in the future. We co-developed what we now call the MPEG-DASH standard, the Internet’s backbone for video streaming used by nearly every streaming service in the world including Netflix and Youtube.

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There’s been a marked increase in usage of video in business use (especially sales and marketing) over the last few years, Covid-19 has increased this video-dependency; a few thoughts on where you see usage of videos for varied business purposes head as we still move through uncertainty and the pandemic?

Video is changing the way that we communicate and exchange information, although there will always be a place for in-person activities such as education, entertainment (film and concerts), religious activities, and events. Video as a means to reach a larger audience will become more commonplace. In-person vs online schools won’t have as big a gap in terms of acceptance and stigma. Even before Covid-19, video was permeating into nearly every industry that it could, and this is enforced by the constant growth in usage, the pandemic simply accelerated its adoption. The next step is to develop a common level infrastructure.

How are technologies / infrastructures evolving today to meet these changing needs and to support the increased use of video across business processes (training / remote collaboration / hiring / interviews / etc)?

You see this from the mass adoption of services like Zoom (for professional and educational purposes), but this will also extend to shopping, religion, and other major entertainment industries. From the back-end video perspective, the development is coming from the efficiency and reach perspective, newer codecs and compression technologies are regularly being adopted to deliver higher-quality video, faster, and to more devices. The biggest shift is moving away from on-prem encoding infrastructures to cloud-based — where there is a significantly lower cost of operations (higher in terms of time spent to customize) and higher level of customization to support unique content requirements.

How do you feel these trends will change the way digital content will be shared and documented in the future?

I’m not sure how sharing will change in the near future – social channels, OTT platforms, and word of mouth may largely stay static. Documentation however, is what is changing. Consumers and organizations alike need better metrics to measure QoS and/or QoE success. While count of viewership is the constant, it’s the additional quality metrics that are most important, is the video stable? How quickly is it published? How quickly and efficiently is it transcoded? Am I reaching all of my viewers where they want to consume my content? These are all things that organizations are seeking to document and will want better information around. This is why Video Analytics are becoming more important as the industry develops.

In what ways will these trends impact multiple industries (and which ones): a few top thoughts?

I think the most impacted industries (in no particular order) are:

  • Religious Institutions
  • Education
  • Entertainment (theater/concerts/etc)
  • Health and fitness
  • Communications

These industries will need to find ways to reach their consumers wherever they are, efficiently, and in an engaging matter.

A few takeaways for marketing / business leaders in 2021: top factors they should keep in mind as they plan for the rest of the year?

There is no one size fits all solution for video distribution–and that’s on us as the video tech industry to help solve with a sustainable infrastructure–but by and large you must really define who your target audience is, and what are the best means to reach them. Also, real-time analytics–understanding what’s going on with your viewers at any given moment–are going to be extremely important for both ensuring a quality user experience with as little churn as possible, and in monetizing content through advertising. 

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Bitmovin has been in the streaming business since 2013 and currently has over 250 enterprise customers relying on its technology, including The New York Times, BBC, Fubo, and more. A research scientist and assistant professor at The University of Klagenfurt–one of the world’s top universities for research in video streaming technology–Lederer co-developed what we now call the MPEG-DASH standard, the Internet’s backbone for video streaming used by nearly every streaming service in the world including Netflix and Youtube. 

Stefan Lederer is CEO and co-founder of Bitmovin, a global leader in streaming video infrastructure and development tools.

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